Sick chicken in winter

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LHchickens, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. LHchickens

    LHchickens New Egg

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    Jan 31, 2017
    Hi all,

    I am very new when it comes to owning chickens and this has been my first winter with them. So far so good with one exception...One of our hens has been fairly lethargic for the last few weeks and tends to sit by herself in our feeding room (our coop is made up of two rooms one with food and water the other is a nesting area). This morning I noticed she was laying on her side with one foot extended eating out of our feeder. I picked her up to examine her to see if I could figure out a visual issue which I did not. When I set her back down on here feet she fell head first with here tail up in the air and slid to her side just like how I initially found her. Any idea when may be the problem/what solutions I may be able to implement.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi and welcome to the BTC.
    I'm sorry your opening post is in such circumstances.

    Unfortunately it sounds like it may be Marek's disease. How old is she? That leg stuck out posture is pretty common in Marek's birds. Unfortunately there is no recognised treatment for Marek's and the best you can do is offer supportive care and vitamins supplements and extra nutrition like scrambled eggs/tuna etc to boost the immune system. Some people believe St John's Wort can be beneficial but the nature of the disease is such that some chickens recover (usually to have a subsequent attack months even years later) and others deteriorate, so be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. It is a Herpes type virus and is often triggered by stress....adolescence is consequently the main time for it to occur when hormones are surging and causing changes in the body.

    She might benefit from you making her a chicken hammock, to keep her in an upright position, so that she can eat and drink more comfortably and not soil herself and it will also put less stress on her body and particularly her neck....neck paralysis/wry neck is another symptom that can occur with Marek's. If you do a search for chicken sling/hammock/chair, you will get some ideas of what you can make to support her.

    Good luck with her and the rest of your flock. It is a virus that is transmitted via dander dust shed from an infected bird which is then inhaled by other birds. In my experience some will be susceptible and get it whilst others won't but there are people on this forum who have lost almost their whole flock to it. Personally I don't quarantine because by the time they show symptoms, the rest of the flock have most likely been exposed, but everyone has to make their own mind up on that.
    Where in the world are you? Here in the UK it seems that the Marek's virus is not as virulent/destructive as it seems to be in the USA. Were your chickens vaccinated for Marek's at hatch? It doesn't always prevent them from getting it but it can help to prevent the fatal tumours from developing. f you want any more information on it, ask away.

    Hope I'm wrong about Marek's but regardless she is going to need support.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  3. LHchickens

    LHchickens New Egg

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    Jan 31, 2017
    Thank you very much Barbara, we will continue to monitor her conditions and hope its not Marek's.
     
  4. LHchickens

    LHchickens New Egg

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    Jan 31, 2017
    did some more investigating and realised it looks like we have a mite infestation. I believe this particular hen may have early signs of anemia. We are going to be cleaning the pen and applying some diatomaceous earth to hopefully solve the problem in the pen. I've been doing some more research as to on body remedies. Garlic juice spray was one and on body diatomaceous earth application was also mentioned. Does anyone else have any other possible options?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What makes you think you have a mite infestation?
    DE is contentious but then so are several other treatments for mites mostly because they are fine powder that can be inhaled both by the chickens and the person applying, with detrimental effect to the respiratory system. Also, some of the chemical products like Sevin are toxic to bees and other beneficial insects and have recently been withdrawn from use on poultry in the USA I believe.
    I don't think we have Sevin here in the UK. I have successfully treated an infestation of mites with DE before but the last time I had a really bad one, the DE did nothing and it took several applications of two other different pesticide products over a period of weeks before I got it sorted. Making them a dry dust bath area where they can delouse themselves is helpful using dry soil, wood ash and compost. Treating the coop (particularly all the nooks and crannies) with whatever you decide upon and retreating every week is important. I use a soft dustpan brush to dust whatever I use into all the cracks and corners....make sure chickens are out and you wear a dust mask. Garlic may help as a preventative but I would doubt it will be effective against an infestation.
    Where in the world are you? (It helps if you include that info on your profile page.) I find that mites are more likely to be a problem in the warmer spring/summer seasons than the winter, particularly if you have a colder climate....unless you heat the coop.... because they live in the coop and just climb onto the birds at night to suck their blood. In cold climates, I believe they are pretty dormant through the winter.
    Lice on the other hand, live on the chickens, so are less affected by the seasons. Lice however, are more of an irritant than a serious health risk and often thrive on a sick bird that is no longer well enough to dust bath and preen to get rid of them. Many people see lice and think they are responsible for the bird being sick whereas they are just opportunist and taking advantage of a sick bird as their host. They will not make a bird anaemic as they do not suck blood like mites.

    The way to detect mites is to wipe a white cloth under the roost at night and look for red blood spots. I also check the roost ends for mites whilst I am cleaning out the coop. They crawl into the dark cracks and crevices nearest the roost during the daylight hours where it is safe, so that it is just a short walk along the roost and onto the chickens to suck their blood at night.

    If you do have a mite infestation, then I wish you luck dealing with it. Chemicals are a last resort for me but I had to take that drastic step last summer.

    Regards

    Barbara
     

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